I started Out of the Ashes yesterday. I'm all of 4 pages in and wishing I had taken a pen with me to mark it up.
I stand with Livy, who at the final hardening of Rome's republican arteries, wrote that the study of his land's history was the study of the rise and fall of moral strength, with duty and severity giving way to ambition, avarice, and license till his fellow Romans "sank lower and lower, and finally began the downward plunge which has brought us to the present time, when we can endure neither our vices nor the cure." (emphasis mine)Esolen makes his arguments cogently by weaving in quotations and ideas from out of time - from people and events and literature you may never have heard of but that resonate with the soul.
On page 4:
The people of the ancient world came before the modern watershed: that which encourages us to believe that what is current must be superior to what is past. We apply what we see in the progress of technology to all other human endeavors, and fail to ask whether technological innovations thememselves are always unmixed blessings, let alone whether, for example, modern art with its inhuman abstraction or its deliberate ugliness is really an advancement over what the great tradition has bequeathed to us. Modernity is all too often a cult of erasure and oblivion. The ancients still had memory.So beautifully, if painfully, truly written.